The Grapevine

Scientists Debunk Claim People Are Growing Horns Because Of Smartphone Use

A recent report surprised the public when it claimed that long-term use of smartphones has been causing horns to grow on young people’s skulls. This sparked a concern amid the growing use of mobile devices for daily activities of almost all people today. 

The article, titled "Horns are growing on young people's skulls. Phone use is to blame, research suggests," by The Washington Post highlighted the findings of a 2018 study published in the journal Scientific Reports. Researchers associated smartphone use to horn-like growths, called external occipital protuberances (EOPs), in the middle of the back of skulls of people aged between 18 and 30. 

The study suggested that extensive use of phones and other hand-held devices, like tablets, leads to sustained bad posture. This then allegedly triggers the growth of the horns. 

However, some experts questioned the findings. 

"The study has a number of considerable flaws," William Harcourt-Smith, a physical anthropologist from Lehman College in New York, told Business Insider. "The way the media are using the word 'horns' is appalling."

David Shahar, lead author of the study, explained that his team did not use the "horn" in their report and that it was the media that promoted it. However, he admitted that the bony growth can be described as a horn, a bird's beak, or a hook.

But whatever the media or the scientific community wants to call it, experts said there is nothing to worry about the horn-like growth behind people’s skulls. 

The study stated that the growth was "a degenerative musculoskeletal feature," which occurs due to deterioration and loss of function. Such feature is common among older people. 

An expert also clarified that the growth is not made of bones. It is important to know that the horn is harmless. 

David Langer, chairman of neurosurgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, also questioned the study. He said that the people who spend a significant amount of time looking down with a bent neck are known to have disc problems, not changes in their skulls.

"It doesn't make a bit of sense to me," he told The New York Times. "You're more likely to get degenerative disc disease or misalignment in your neck than a bone spur growing out of your skull. I haven't seen any of these."

Smartphone Smartphones have been one of the faster growing technologies across the world, changing how people handle daily activities. Pixabay